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Thoughts from Our Fellows: Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context

January 04, 2022

January 04, 2022

Welcome to Thoughts from Our Fellows, a collection of recent activity regarding the Academy's Grand Challenge of each Month. In December, the Academy focused on Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context. Below you will find:

  • The recommendations from our Election 2020 project regarding the first year of the new administration,
  • Recommendations from our fellows for the next few years of the Biden Administration,
  • Management Matters podcasts related to this grand challenge, and
  • The top 5 clicked articles on this grand challenge from our Management Matters online newsletter.
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Election 2020

In November of 2020, the Academy published a paper on this topic as a part of its Election 2020 Project. The Working Group recommended the following actions for its paper, The United States in an Interconnected World: An Agenda for 2021.

  1. Establish a U.S. Global Crises Response Corps, starting immediately with a program focused on health, particularly on Covid-19. This should soon be followed by similar programs on natural disasters, cybersecurity, and other international risks that require coordination across borders.
  2. Establish a national commission on public diplomacy, cultural exchange, and sustainable development charged with helping American diplomacy present and represent U.S. values abroad.
  3. Develop a Presidential-Level sustainable democratic institutions strategy to integrate efforts from across the federal administration.
  4. Establish cross-agency standards for monitoring and evaluation by federal departments and agencies administering foreign assistance as called for in the current Administration’s “Guidelines for Monitoring and Evaluations of Foreign Service.”
  5. Align U.S. efforts with those of other nations and the private sector to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG 16.
  6. Increase management capacity by first exploring greater flexibility in systems for the domestic service—that is, those positions with the Department of State outside of the Foreign Service.

Thoughts from Our Fellows

In addition to our Election 2020 papers, which focused on recommended actions for the first year of a new administration, the Academy also asked its Fellows

"What should public administrators in the federal government do to address these challenges? What should they prioritize?"

Lawrence Cooley: Engage with like-minded public administrators in other countries, and with globally-oriented civil society groups, to build personal relationships and to evolve shared views on issues of global importance.

Arnold Fields: The people, both domestic and foreign, need to have confidence in the federal government and its leaders. They are the face of that in which we believe. To this end, it is imperative for public administrators to be just and impeccably honest and clear in their dealings. They must also have a clear understanding and appreciation for what we hold as our most valued democratic principles. I am not convinced that our advancement in communications technology has or should change our democratic principles. Likewise, I am not convinced that the speed at which information travels has ushered in more rapid change. I believe this perception is merely an illusion. What information technology has precipitated are more "kneejerk reactions" and so-called "solutions" to issues that otherwise require much more intellectual examination before arriving at and implementing decisions and policies that have enduring implications. No nation or individual can be everything to all people. In this regard, we need a clear, unambiguous statement of our democratic principles and of our right and left lateral limits in guaranteeing our intent and ability to deliver to our citizens and to our international partners, as appropriate. Prioritize honesty, integrity and respect and I believe the impact will be a much-needed course correction both at home and abroad.

Related Podcasts

Grand Challenge: Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context
NAPA podcast-logo
Working with China and Other Global Partners with Dan Guttman

Fellow: Daniel Guttman

Season: 1 Episode:86 | December 27, 2021

Grand Challenge: Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context
NAPA podcast-logo
Public Administration in Trade Policy with Irving Williamson

Fellow: Irving Williamson

Season: 1 Episode:85 | December 20, 2021

Grand Challenge: Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context
NAPA podcast-logo
The U.S. in the Western Hemisphere with Nuria Esparch

Fellow: Nuria Esparch

Season: 1 Episode:84 | December 13, 2021

Grand Challenge: Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context
NAPA podcast-logo
American Leadership Through Engagement with Jane Lute

Fellow: Jane Lute

Season: 1 Episode:35 | January 04, 2021

Grand Challenge: Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context
NAPA podcast-logo
Diplomacy in a Changing Global Context with Joyce Barr

Fellow: Joyce Barr

Season: 1 Episode:33 | December 07, 2020

Top 5 Articles on Advance National Interests in a Changing Global Context

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NPR: Why Biden is hosting more than 100 countries to talk about democracy, by Scott Detrow

When Joe Biden rolled out his foreign policy platform for the 2020 presidential campaign, he made a big promise: if elected, he would gather the world's democracies at a major summit, where they would show solidarity against a rising tide of authoritarianism.

That promise became a reality on Thursday — sort of. The still-lingering, variant-driven COVID-19 pandemic meant President Biden's democracy summit became yet another virtual conference, sapped of the energy and impact of an in-person event.

Read The Full Article

Brookings: A most unusual recovery: How the US rebound from COVID differs from the rest of G7, by Gian Maria Miles-Ferretti

The pace of recovery from the COVID shock differs across major advanced economies. In contrast to Europe and Japan, U.S. GDP exceeded its pre-COVID level in the third quarter of 2021 and may reach its pre-crisis trend in the fourth quarter. The pace of recovery in Europe in the second and third quarters was still very substantial; as a result, the GDP gap vis-à-vis the U.S. narrowed.

Read The Full Article

NPR: US will resume 'Remain in Mexico' policy for asylum-seekers, by The Associated Press

Migrants seeking to enter the United States will again have to stay in Mexico as they await immigration hearings, as the Biden administration reluctantly announced plans Thursday to comply with a court order and accept conditions set out by Mexico for resuming the Trump-era policy.

Mexico's foreign relations secretary said Mexico will allow returns, beginning next week, in light of U.S. concessions "for humanitarian reasons and for temporary stays."

Read The Full Article

Brookings: Digital government: Foundations for global development and democracy, by George Ingram and Meagan Dooley

If there is any question as to how integral information and communications technology (ICT) is to global development, the evidence is in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Seven of the indicators across four SDGs relate to digital capabilities. Beyond that, to capture the full scope of ICTs as an enabler of development, the Partnership for Measuring ICT for Development has identified another 26 ICT indicators covering 10 of the 17 SDGs. Further, the Digital Impact Alliance (DIAL) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) developed the SDG Digital Investment Framework, designed as an introduction to how digital capabilities can advance specific SDGs.

Read The Full Article

The Wall Street Journal: The Log4j Vulnerability: Millions of attempts made per hour to exploit software flaw by, David Uberti, James Rundle, and Catherine Stupp

A flaw in widely used internet software known as Log4j has left companies and government officials scrambling to respond to a glaring cybersecurity threat to global computer networks.

The bug could enable potentially devastating cyberattacks that span economic sectors and international borders, according to security experts.

U.S. officials said hundreds of millions of devices were at risk and issued an emergency directive ordering federal agencies to take steps to mitigate the threat by Christmas Eve. Researchers and major technology companies warned that hackers linked to foreign governments and criminal ransomware groups were probing how to exploit the vulnerability within targets’ computer systems.

Read The Full Article